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To: All

From: Joshua 5:9a, 10-12

Celebration of the Passover at Gilgal


[9a] And the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of
Egypt from you.”

[10] While the people of Israel were encamped in Gilgal they kept the passover
on the fourteenth day of the month at evening in the plains of Jericho. [11] And
on the morrow after the passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of
the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. [12] And the manna ceased on
the morrow, when they ate of the produce of the land; and the people of Israel
had manna no more, but ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

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Commentary:

5:1-9. Semitic peoples practised circumcision as an initiation rite for entry into
manhood. Israelites observed it on the eighth day after birth, and it has an emi-
nently religious meaning: it shows that the person is a member of the people of
God (cf. the notes on Gen 17:1-14 and Lev 12:1-4). It was specifically laid down
that a person had to be circumcised to be able to celebrate Passover (Ex 12:43-
49).

The reason given here for the circumcision of the people at Gilgal (that is, the
fact that the circumcision of males born during the desert years had been post-
poned) makes sense. However, the fact that the circumcising takes place at this
particular point is highly significant: it is a way of showing that this people which
has come to the gates of the promised land has attained its maturity after its
long pilgrimage in the desert. Israel truly is, after the Covenant of Sinai, a people
who belong to God.

5:10-12. Once the men have been circumcised and can celebrate the Passover,
that feast is held in the promised land for the first time. The Israelites are able to
use grain from that region to make the unleavened bread; and now that they
have access to the agricultural products of the land, they are no longer provided
with manna — the food God gave daily to them in the desert.

God was perfectly ready to provide them with miraculous food when they needed
special protection in the desert, where food of any kind was in short supply. But
once they can fend for themselves, by working the land, God ceases to give
them any special help.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 03/09/2013 8:53:54 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

The Ministry of Reconciliation (Continuation)


[17] Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed
away, behold, the new has come. [18] All this is from God, who through Christ
reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] that is,
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses
against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. [20] So we are
ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on
behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [21] For our sake he made him to be sin
who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

16-17. “Even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view”: Paul
seems to be referring to knowledge based only on external appearances and on
human criteria. Paul’s Judaizing opponents do look on things from a human point
of view, as Paul himself did before his conversion. Nothing he says here can be
taken as implying that St Paul knew Jesus personally during his life on earth (he
goes on to say that now he does not know him personally); what he is saying is
that previously he judged Christ on the basis of his own Pharisee prejudices;
now, on the other hand, he knows him as God and Savior of men.

In v. 17 he elaborates on this contrast between before and after his conversion,
as happens to Christians through Baptism. For through the grace of Baptism a
person becomes a member of Christ’s body, he lives by and is “in Christ” (cf.,
e.g., Gal 6:15; Eph 2:10, 15f; Cor 3:9f); the Redemption brings about a new crea-
tion. Commenting on this passage St Thomas Aquinas reminds us that creation
is the step from non-being to being, and that in the supernatural order, after origi-
nal sin, “a new creation was necessary, whereby (creatures) would be made
with the life of grace; this truly is a creation from nothing, because those without
grace are nothing (cf. 1 Cor 13:2) [...]. St Augustine says, ‘for sin is nothingness,
and men become nothingness when they sin’” (”Commentary on 2 Cor, ad loc.”).

“The new has come”: St John Chrysostom points out the radical change which
the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ has brought about, and the consequent
difference between Judaism and Christianity: “Instead of the earthly Jerusalem,
we have received that Jerusalem which is above; and instead of a material tem-
ple we have seen a spiritual temple; instead of tablets of stone, holding the di-
vine Law, our own bodies have become the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit; instead
of circumcision, Baptism; instead of manna, the Lord’s body; instead of water
from a rock, blood from his side; instead of Moses’ or Aaron’s rod, the cross of
the Savior; instead of the promised land, the kingdom of heaven” (”Hom on 2
Cor”, 11).

18-21. The reconciliation of mankind with God—whose friendship we lost through
original sin—has been brought about by Christ’s death on the cross. Jesus, who
is like men in all things “yet without sinning” (Heb 4:14), bore the sins of men
(cf. s 53:4-12) and offered himself on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for all
those sins (cf. 1 Pet 2:22-25), thereby reconciling men to God; through this sa-
crifice we became the righteousness of God, that is, we are justified, made just
in God’s sight (cf. Rom 1:17; 3:24-26 and notes). The Church reminds us of this
in the rite of sacramental absolution: “God, the Father of mercies, through the
death and resurrection of his son has reconciled the world to himself [...].”

Our Lord entrusted the Apostles with this ministry of reconciliation (v. 18), this
“message of reconciliation” (v. 19), to pass it on to all men: elsewhere in the
New Testament it is described as the “message of salvation” (Acts 13:26), the
“word of grace” (Acts 14:3; 20:32), the “word of life” ( 1 Jn 1: 1). Thus, the Apos-
tles were our Lord’s ambassadors to men, to whom St Paul addresses a pres-
sing call: “be reconciled to God”, that is, apply to yourselves the reconciliation
obtained by Jesus Christ—which is done mainly through the sacraments of Bap-
tism and Penance. “The Lord Jesus instituted in his Church the sacrament of
Penance, so that those who have committed sins after Baptism might be recon-
ciled with God, whom they have offended, and with the Church itself whom they
have injured” (John Paul II, “Aperite Portas, 5).

21. “He made him to be sin”: obviously St Paul does not mean that Christ was
guilty of sin; he does not say “to be a sinner” but “to be sin”. “Christ had no sin,”
St Augustine says; “he bore sins, but he did not commit them” (”Enarrationes
in Psalmos”, 68, 1, 10).

According to the rite of atoning sacrifices (cf. Lev 4:24; 5:9; Num 19:9; Mic 6:7;
Ps 40:7) the word “sin”, corresponding to the Hebrew “asam”, refers to the ac-
tual act of sacrifice or to the victim being offered. Therefore, this phrase means
“he made him a victim for sin” or “a sacrifice for sin”. It should be remembered
that in the Old Testament nothing unclean or blemished could be offered to God;
the offering of an unblemished animal obtained God’s pardon for the transgres-
sion which one wanted to expiate. Since Jesus was the most perfect of victims
offered for us, he made full atonement for all sins. In the Letter to the Hebrews,
when comparing Christ’s sacrifice with that of the priests of the Old Testament,
it is expressly stated that “every priest stands daily at his service, offering re-
peatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ
had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand
of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. For
by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb
10:11-14).

This concentrated sentence also echoes the Isaiah prophecy about the sacrifice
of the Servant of Yahweh; Christ, the head of the human race, makes men sha-
rers in the grace and glory he achieved through his sufferings: “upon him was the
chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed” (Is 53:5).

Jesus Christ, burdened with our sins and offering himself on the cross as a sacri-
fice for them, brought about the Redemption: the Redemption is the supreme ex-
ample both of God’s justice—which requires atonement befitting the offense — and
of his mercy, that mercy which makes him love the world so much that “he gave
his only Son” (Jn 3:16). “In the Passion and Death of Christ — in the fact that the
Father did not spare his own Son, but ‘for our sake made him sin’ — absolute jus-
tice is expressed, for Christ undergoes the Passion and Cross because of the
sins of humanity. This constitutes even a ‘superabundance’ of justice, for the sins
of man are ‘compensated for’ by the sacrifice of the Man-God. Nevertheless, this
justice, which is properly justice ‘to God’s measure’, springs completely from love,
from the love of the Father and of the Son, and completely bears fruit in love. Pre-
cisely for this reason the divine justice revealed in the Cross of Christ is to God’s
measure’, because it springs from love and is accomplished in love, producing
fruits of salvation. The divine dimension of redemption is put into effect not only
by bringing justice to bear upon sin, but also by restoring to love that creative po-
wer in man thanks to which he once more has access to the fullness of life and
holiness that come from God. In this way, redemption involves the revelation of
mercy in its fullness” (John Paul II, “Dives In Misercordia”, 7).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 03/09/2013 8:54:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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